Harford's 11 homicides in 2016 are mostly closed cases

The number of homicides was higher than in any of the three previous years

Harford County had 11 homicides in 2016, an unusually high number that included the shooting deaths of two sheriff's deputies and their killer, the shooting death of an Abingdon man by police and three murders in Aberdeen, according to police.

Three of the other homicides in the county last year were domestic-related, and one homicide involved what police said amounted to roughhousing among friends.

A perpetrator has been identified in all nine cases where the victim was not killed by police. One killed himself, and arrests were made in all the other cases with the exception of one manslaughter case that the state's attorney's office declined to prosecute. Trials remain pending for those arrested.

Two of the people murdered in Aberdeen, a man and a woman shot to death at the same time, were targeted by their killer and the third, the fatal stabbing of a woman visiting the city, appeared to be a random slaying, according to city police.

"I am extremely proud of the Major Cases Unit of the Criminal Investigations Division for achieving 100 percent clearance rate for the homicides that occurred in 2016," Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said in a statement regarding the eight homicides investigated by his agency. "It took hard work, determination, and teamwork to bring closure to not only these cases but closure to the families and friends of the victims."

Gahler noted the Major Cases Unit "consistently has closure rates well above the national average of 64 percent. In fact, they successfully closed 87.5 percent of their homicide cases in 2015. Their diligence sends a clear message that if you choose to commit a crime in Harford County, we will not stop investigating until justice has been served."

Police were not charged in the deaths of David Brian Evans, 68, who killed the deputies last year, or Army Staff Sgt. Travis Boyd Bradley, 36, who was killed during a standoff with police outside his Abingdon home in March.

The three murders in Aberdeen during the summer amounted to a spike in such crimes that a police department spokesperson described as an "anomaly" in a city that had about three homicides in the preceding decade.

All three occurred on the city's east side, which has a history of crime problems.

The Aberdeen Police Department has since ramped up its efforts to engage with the community.

The department was already working with east side residents, especially young people, through multiple programs, but police also have hosted several community meetings to reassure people the city is a safe place, overall, and to encourage residents to work with them to solve and prevent crimes.

"It's a credit to the public that is coming out and buying in and tackling these tough issues and doing it together [with the police]," Detective Sgt. Will Reiber said Tuesday.

County and municipal law enforcement investigated eight homicides and closed all but one case in 2015.

One of the 2015 cases solved, in which a man was shot during a home invasion in Edgewood, was ruled self defense, but an accomplice was charged with first degree murder and entered an Alford Plea to lesser charges.

There were nine homicides in Harford County in 2014 and eight in 2013. Two of the 2014 cases remain open and one of the 2013 cases is open. In the latter year, a man charged with a fatal shooting of another man in Edgewood was acquitted in a jury trial; however, the Sheriff's Office has said it considers that case closed.

2016 Aberdeen homicides

June 13 - Taneisha Chenay Smothers, 31, and Jumal Rodale Dudley, 43, were found shot in front of an apartment complex in the first block of East Bel Air Avenue in Aberdeen. Neither victim lived in the apartments.

Smothers, who lived in the first block of Osborne Road in Aberdeen, was pronounced dead at the scene. Dudley, who lived in Havre de Grace, died at University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Two men have since been arrested by Aberdeen Police and charged with the slayings.

Terrell Darnell Walton, 30, and Ronald Brian Comer Jr., 30, both of Aberdeen, have been charged in the murders they are being held in the Harford County Detention Center without bail.

Police said they suspect Walton shot both victims, and Comer was an accomplice. Comer's trial is scheduled to begin April 27, and Walton is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 14, both in Harford County Circuit Court, according to online court records.

Assistant State's Attorney David Ryden described the murders as "execution-style" slayings during a District Court bail review hearing for Comer in June.

July 29 - Ericka Satterfield, 27, of Baltimore, was visiting relatives in Aberdeen when she was stabbed, allegedly by Andrew Sun Lee, 22, of Taft Street in Aberdeen. Police found her in the 100 block of North Post Road early in the morning, suffering from stab wounds. She died later at the hospital.

Police arrested Lee that same afternoon at University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace, where he sought treatment for cuts investigators believe were related to the assault on Ms. Satterfield.

Lee is scheduled to go to trial May 9 in Circuit Court, according to court records. During an Aug. 1, 2016 bail review hearing, District Court Judge Victor Butanis ordered a psychological competency test for the defendant, who had received psychiatric treatment through the Sheppard Pratt Health System in the past, according to his public defender. Butanis also ordered that Lee stay in jail on no bail.

Reiber, of the Aberdeen Police Department, noted Comer and Walton have long violent criminal histories.

"He was going to commit violent crimes; it was just a matter of where they were going to be committed," Reiber said of Walton. "He just happened to be in Aberdeen."

Reiber credited good police work, with community support, for the quick arrests of the suspects in the murders.

"We're just thankful that we were able, through the help of the community and obviously through good police work, we were able to make arrests in both those cases and remove those individuals from the street," he said.

Those factors were also in play in the quick arrest of Lee, about 12 hours after the victim was found.

Reiber declined to comment on the relationship between the victims of the double murder and the suspects, but he noted no connection has been found between Lee and Ms. Satterfield.

"When those kind of events happen, they're very difficult to solve because you don't have a connection between [the victim and perpetrator]," he said. "We were able, through good police work and good fortune, able to make that arrest."

2016 county homicides

Feb. 10 - Harford County Sheriff's Office Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey, 52, of Joppa, and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon, 43, of Fallston, were fatally shot by David Brian Evans, 68, who was living out of his vehicle. Senior Deputy Dailey approached Evans as he was sitting in the Panera Bread restaurant in the Boulevard at Box Hill shopping center in Abingdon after his former wife told police Evans had been stalking her.

Evans shot Senior Deputy Dailey, left the restaurant and walked toward his vehicle, which was parked in the lot of a nearby senior citizen apartment complex. Evans was sitting in his vehicle when police approached; he shot at the officers, striking and fatally wounding DFC Logsdon. He was then killed by police return fire.

March 2 - Army Staff Sgt. Travis Boyd Bradley, 36, of Althea Court in Bel Air South, was shot and killed by Sheriff's Office SWAT officers in front of his townhouse after a three-hour standoff with police. Bradley had shot at police and then got into the standoff with officers; police locked down the apartment community, and residents who were present had to shelter in their homes. Police tried to negotiate with the solider, who was assigned to Aberdeen Proving Ground, but their attempts failed. Officers shot Bradley as he came out of his residence and moved toward them.

"His actions caused Harford County Sheriff's Office deputies to be in fear for their personal safety and that of the surrounding community leading deputies to fire upon the suspect, mortally wounding him," according to a Sheriff's Office statement issued the night of the shooting.

Bradley was not armed when he was shot, but police believed he had explosives in the house and on his body.

The State's Attorney's Office has ruled the shooting was a "justified homicide," according to Sheriff's Office spokesperson Cristie Kahler.

March 11 - Charles Herman Thomas Sr., 73, died from his injuries about six weeks after he and his son, Charles Herman Thomas Jr., 48, were stabbed and beaten in their home.

The assault happened Jan. 30 in the Thomas home on B&O Road in Abingdon. The elder Thomas died from "blunt force trauma," and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide, according to Kahler.

Thomas, who died at a Baltimore rehabilitation center, spent 36 years as a middle and high school teacher with Harford County Public Schools. His son also died, but the medical examiner attributed his death to "strictly a medical condition, not as a result of his injuries," according to Kahler.

Mark Anthony Turner, 50, who police believe was living with the father and son and the time of the assault, pleaded guilty on Aug. 26 to two counts of attempted first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison, with all time except 40 years suspended, according to online court records.

Aug. 31 - Lara Muscolino, 48, of the 2300 block of Windswept Court in Fallston, was shot multiple times, allegedly by her 55-year-old husband, Ricardo.

Sheriff's Office deputies found the victim in the couple's home, shot in her upper body. She was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, where she died from her wounds. Ricardo Muscolino turned himself in while the shooting was under investigation.

Muscolino has been charged with first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a violent felony. He is scheduled to go to trial June 19, according to court records.

Sept. 28 - Nasir Siddique, 57, of Bel Air, shot and killed his 48-year-old wife, Zarqa, in their home in the 1200 block of Mikara Court in Bel Air, then drove to College Park and killed his 19-year-old son, Farhad Siddique, and himself.

Nasir Siddique was a decorated Army lieutenant colonel. He worked for the environmental branch at the Aberdeen Proving Ground public works department, and he served on Governor's Commission on Maryland Military Monuments. His wife was an inclusion helper at Prospect Mill Elementary School, and his son was 2014 graduate of C. Milton Wright High School and was a student at the University of Maryland, College Park. The family is survived by a daughter, who was in school out-of-state.

The Sheriff's Office did not release motive at the time of the killings and declined to release the content of notes found in the home.

Kahler, however, said this week that, "even with the notes that were left, a motive will likely never be established. At this time, any ideas to motive are purely speculation."

Oct. 30 - Ciera Ireland, 33, of Edgewood, died after she was injured while "play fighting" with her friends. The trauma to her body "was exacerbated as a result of an underlying medical condition," according to Kahler.

"The State's Attorney's Office declined to move forward with manslaughter charges," Kahler stated.

Unsolved murders

Four homicides from 2013, 2014 and 2015 remain under active investigation by the Sheriff's Office, with no arrests made.

The victims include Richard Anthony Jackson, 26, who was shot to death in Perrywood Gardens Apartments in Perryman March 21, 2015, Quinton Arvel Stokes, 24, of Edgewood, found on the street in the Edgewater Village community on June 22, 2013, Delmonta Deemonyae Leon Young, 19, of Edgewood, found in the Windsor Valley community on June 25, 2014, and the Aug. 4, 2014 murder of Thomas Anderson, 38, of Street.

Anderson was killed during a robbery in his residence. Police suspect three men were involved, based on statements from Anderson's relatives who were also present during the robbery.

"These remain active investigations," Kahler wrote. "No new information is being released."

The Sheriff's Office is also investigating the first homicide of 2017, the shooting death of Marilyn Jaz Scott, 28, of Bel Air South. Ms. Scott was found in front of an apartment building in the Calvert's Walk Apartments community on the morning of Feb. 7.

Scott lived in Calvert's Walk. The Sheriff's Office has released few details about the shooting and has not announced an arrest as of Wednesday.

Detectives are actively working on several leads, Kahler said, adding: "At this time, they have conducted multiple interviews and are awaiting the results of several subpoenas for various records to be returned."

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